Anyone who knows a smoker well will recognize this scenario, they quit smoking for several weeks or months, then a stressful life event occurs, and they pick up those little cancer sticks again and start puffing away.
Soon nobody believes a smoker when they say they are quitting. Nonetheless, this article will provide you with the tools you need to fight back and inspiration to continue working to give up tobacco for good.
How Bad Is Smoking And Why Is Quitting Smoking So Tough?
Okay, raise your hand if you sat through a health class in middle school that showed pictures of oral cancers from smoking. For those who didn’t raise their hands, here’s the bottom line: smoking hampers many aspects of good health and hygiene.
According to the National Institutes of Health, smoking harms nearly every organ in the body, causes 87% of lung cancer deaths, and contributes to lung disease, heart, and blood vessel disease, stroke, cataracts, and other types of cancer. And, it doesn’t bode well for your social status or relationships.
Why is quitting so tough? Nicotine is addictive. It makes you feel calm and relaxed yet alert and focused at the same time. Like caffeine, the more nicotine you smoke (dip, chew, etc.), the more you need to get that same feeling. And, it’s more than just a feeling, its also a habit.
Holding a cigarette to your lips, blowing out the smoke, returning it to your lips – this sequence is a significant habit that fills time when you are stressed, bored, lonely, or angry. Many people have this habit ingrained into certain parts of their life—the after-meal smoke, at-a-bar smoke, while-driving smoke, etc.
Both the nicotine addiction and habit aspect of smoking make it hard to quit. And, it typically takes more than one attempt to quit smoking to succeed.
How Bodybuilding Can Help You Quit Smoking
The overall lifestyle that bodybuilding creates can help fuel your desire to quit smoking and also increase your chances of success.
Bodybuilding helps you manage cravings. When you are quitting smoking, you’ll need to manage your craving for a cigarette and the desire to hold that cigarette in your hand (the act of smoking itself).
As a bodybuilder, you know how to manage your cravings. You’ve been in many situations where people are eating pure junk, and you’ve abstained. You can use the same techniques that help you manage cravings for a burger and fries to manage that craving for a smoke.
Bodybuilding will help you manage your withdrawal symptoms. When you quit smoking, you will inevitably feel the symptoms of withdrawal, including depression, not being able to sleep; feeling cranky, frustrated, anxious, nervous, restless; lack of focus, hunger, or desire to eat (for that hand to mouth action).
Bodybuilding makes you feel good. It increases your body’s production of feel good endorphins. Plus, you feel better about your overall appearance when you are a regular bodybuilder. Can’t sleep? Working out regularly will help that. Feeling frustrated, anxious, nervous, or anything else? A hard workout will certainly relax you. Bodybuilding can help you manage those withdrawal symptoms.
Bodybuilding gives you perseverance. There is nothing like a challenging sport to build up your burning desire to succeed. Sure, you may not hit your goal today, but a few days from now, you’ll try again. That ability to persevere, even in the face of setbacks, is what you need to try to quit smoking continually.
Inevitably, smokers will pick up a cigarette on the road to quitting. As a bodybuilder, you are much more likely to hop right back on track after a slipup.
Additional Tips To Help You Quit Smoking
- In addition to bodybuilding, try these tips to help you quit:
- Set a quit date
- Tell family, friends, and coworkers that you plan to quit
- Anticipate and prepare for the challenges you will face
- Remove cigarettes and other tobacco products from your home, car, and workplace
- Talk to your doctor or other healthcare professionals about getting help
- Consider medicine, inhalers, nicotine gum, or the nicotine patch. These medicines may increase your chances of success.
- Get support:
- National Quit Line at 1-800-quit-now (1-800-784-8669)
- NCI’s Smoking Quitline at 1-877-44U-QUIT
- Check if your workplace offers quit-smoking clinics and support
As small children, my brother and I frequently took our mom’s cigarette stash (she smoked on occasion with her brothers and sisters), carefully broke each one in half, and then buried them deep in the trash can. If you aren’t lucky enough to have such a wonderful support system, build it. Find people who have quit smoking and ask them for encouragement. Surround yourself with nonsmokers, so you don’t have the desire to pick up a cigarette. And, keep bodybuilding. The lifestyle you are creating as a bodybuilder will help you remain steadfast in your pursuit of a tobacco-free life.